'Team work brought us success'

Having gone 76 editions without success, Rajasthan are busy making up for last time.

Their victory in this season’s Ranji Trophy final against Tamil Nadu, by virtue of their 326-run first-innings lead, catapulted Hrishikesh Kanitkar’s men into an elite group of teams who have successfully defended the crown. Rajasthan followed up last year’s victory in the final over Baroda with a second straight crown, thus joining Mumbai, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka as consecutive winners.

“The Almighty works in mysterious ways,” Kanitkar said cryptically, adding. “We are a close-knit unit. We enjoy each other’s success. We are there for each other’s failure. Till the last ball, we never think we’ve won the game. Tamil Nadu had a terrific batting side, application was very necessary.”

Reflecting on the men at his command, the former India all-rounder remarked, “They are honest cricketers. They believe in hard work, in staying two days at the wicket. We believe in performing rather than depending on our talent. We had a slow start to the season. We just had to keep believing in ourselves, believing in the process, practice, training and all that.

“We played on seaming tracks; that helped us a lot. Wickets were challenging for batsmen this season. On this wicket, the ball was keeping low, you needed a lot of time to get runs. It wasn’t as placid a wicket as it was made out to be.”

Refusing to single out one individual responsible for Rajasthan’s march to the title, Kanitkar said, “I believe everyone is equal; no one better than somebody else. Just because someone is performing doesn’t make him a better player. The whole team wins, the whole team loses.”

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